Quinoa cultivation boosts incomes for villagers in NW China

The autumn quinoa harvest season is now in full swing, in the once poverty-stricken county in Haixi Prefecture of northwest China's Qinghai Province. Growing the plant has boosted incomes for local villagers and improved the land utilization in the area.

According to the farmers, thanks to favorable weather and improved harvesting techniques, they can expect a bountiful yield this year.

"At the early stage of cultivation, we grew plants reasonably close to each other. In the mid-term, we applied foliar fertilizers. During the harvest season, we are using professional equipment to reduce waste. All these measures improve production. And this year's grain capacity will probably increase by 10 percent from last year. We can harvest 3,750 kilogram of quinoa per hectare and the total output is expected to reach 3,000 tons," said Li Yingchun, a quinoa grower.

In addition to the bountiful harvest, quinoa cultivation also helps to reduce land degradation.

Through local cooperatives, about 10,000 jobs have been created for villagers, boosting the incomes of local farmers.

"Now, we work in the factory and get stable incomes. I also grew some quinoa. My annual income has increased by 20,000 to 30,000 yuan (around $3,100 to $4,600) from before and is around 50,000 to 60,000 yuan (nearly $7,770 to $9,323) for a whole year," said Bao Lianfang, a local villager.

This year, the quinoa output in Haixi Prefecture is expected to top 7,600 tons with an output value of over 90 million yuan (roughly $14 million) from 2,033 hectares of lands.

(Cover image by CFP)

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